There are moments in your life where despair and fear take over your thinking. When I went in to the surgery last Nov 23, I had been warned about all the possible complications and side effects up to and including death. I had also been told that the surgery would probably be about 12 hrs long.
I was apprehensive about the possible problems but realized there was really no other option open to me at this time other than going ahead and hoping for the best.
I’m not sure about any of you but when I get general anesthetic it works really well. Others have told me of out of body experiences and seeming to be able to watch their own operations. When I sleep normally I usually have a pretty good idea of how long I’ve been asleep; nothing extraordinary, I just usually have a feel for whether I’ve been gone for a few hours or a few minutes. Under anesthetic though I’m gone. One minute I’m there and then I’m awake again with no feeling whatsoever of whether its been an hour, a minute or a day.
When I went under this time it was the same thing. I was out and then the next thing I knew there were people working all around me in what seemed to be a great bustle. Doctor Archibald the chief surgeon for me was at the foot of the bed and I heard him say, “OK I guess he’s back now I’ll go call his sister.” As he moved away and the others continued to bustle about positioning me and god only knows what else, I saw the clock on the wall showing 1 o’clock.
My first thoughts were that something must have gone very wrong with the operation since they had not started till just after 8 am and my spirits sank as it occurred to me that they must have had to call it off short because they couldn’t do something or other. I assumed that it was a failure which probably meant that I still had cancer and it was probably inoperable.
Well it turns out that particular bit of hopelessness was unnecessary. The time I was coming around was 1 Am, not 1 Pm. The surgery as far as any of the doctors can tell was a success and they found on testing what they call clean margins on all edges of the tumor they had removed. This means that for as far as they can tell, I am at this moment in time cancer free again. While I was sleeping the day away the doctors had been working on me specifically, for 15 hours. They had finished up just after 11pm and were still there at 1 AM to see that I came back out of the anesthetic ok.
I’ll fill in some of the gory details in upcoming posts but for now I’d just like to go on record again as thinking that Canada has a pretty damn good medical system. Certainly it’s not perfect but every time I hear someone talking about how much better the US system is it makes me cringe. Even more important is that with all the problems involved the medical professions are still full of people with amazing talents, energy and empathy trying to do the best they possibly can for the patients they work with.
Think about that the next time some politician promises you to reduce your taxes but not cut services and remember this very important thought. Anyone who said that to you is lying or totally ignorant of the problems.
PS Of course if it’s a politician then it’s almost a certainty it’s a lie.